Internal event resources
So you’re hosting a Internal TEDx event. Get ready! Internal TEDx events are engaging and innovative events organized by corporations, non-profits and government agencies. They improve organizational culture through cross-silo communication and collaboration, laying the groundwork for the next business revolution.
Seven things employees love about Internal TEDx events
- The engagement: “I fell in love with work again,” wrote one Internal TEDx event attendee in a thank you letter.
- The community building: With greater fluidity and turnover in the workplace, Internal events offer a way to bring colleagues together as a community around certain sets of ideas and ideals.
- The space for ideas: Institutions have a tendency to get locked into rigid, specialized divisions: departmentally, functionally, regionally and between levels of seniority. Internal events help to tear down these walls, exploding silos. It creates space within your organization for thinking, sharing and re-evaluating.
- The outsider perspective: For all the ideas within an organization, there are also great people, and great ideas, outside of it. Some Internal events help to incorporate these external points of view.
- The authenticity: “It can sometimes be hard to trust or identify with a corporate initiative,” said one organizer. “With TEDx, it’s not about currying favor; it’s not political — it’s just ideas worth spreading. I think that means something.”
- The innovation: Organizations have to rethink themselves constantly in order to stay competitive. Internal events can drive that kind of forward-thinking culture change.
- The leadership development: Whether you’re helping to organize or have taken the stage yourself, Internal TEDx events can be a great way to accelerate professional as well as personal development. Continue your education along with your colleagues: think and grow!
What’s happening at Internal TEDx events
In December 2012, TEDxJNJ at Johnson & Johnson held its inaugural main event at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey, while employees at over 39 sites organized local activities to make the experience truly global. TEDxJNJ began as a network of small Salon events organized by employees all over the world. Today, TEDxJNJ has become a space for the over 128,000 employees of Johnson & Johnson to search out new ideas.
TEDxSafetec began when a safety engineer at Safetec Nordic AS (who also happened to be a volunteer translator for TED) dreamed of hosting an event at his work. Before launching TEDxTrondheim, he tested the waters by hosting a small, private event at his company. TEDxSafetec is now a quarterly Internal event in which about a dozen employees watch TED Talks, discuss ideas and enjoy refreshments. It’s fun, intimate and a consistent success.
TEDxHillAFB at Hill Air Force Base in the US, organizes an Internal TEDx as way to break out of the military mindset. The “Team Hill” commander had challenged her installation to come up with an engaging program that would raise company morale. So in January, 2014, the first TEDxHillAFB event brought together a hundred people stationed at the base to share in the TED experience and watch TED Talks focused on motivation, positivity and resilience.
Things to remember
Whether your boss approaches you to host an event or you take the initiative to host one yourself, you may become or work with “employee-volunteers,” a hybrid role that can be both challenging and rewarding.
The “bottom line”
Your organization may wish to see a return on investment for the resources it devotes to hosting an Internal event. The feedback survey we provide to participants is a good starting point for collecting satisfaction data.
Many Internal events participants are inspired to join charities or non-profits, sometimes even founding their own. Others become more active in their local communities. Be sure to track this type of “soft impact” and document the positive changes flowing outside your organization.
You may choose not to rely solely on standard corporate communications channels to get the word out about your event. Part of the beauty of Internal events is its grassroots nature; listening to voices from the bottom-up can help make Internal events more engaging and authentic than a typical corporate event.
The Internal TEDx event page is one place you may publicly promote your event. Fill out the page exactly as you would a standard event, including uploading a single representative photo. The only difference is that you should not include links to any public-facing social media — that means no Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, etc. accounts, and no YouTube channels. Remember: Internal TEDx events are internal.
Incentivizing external speakers
Make sure, if you plan to bring in any external speakers, that they understand that their talk may not be distributed beyond the organization. Tell them: “Currently, TED rules prohibit from us distributing Internal TEDx Talks beyond the walls of our organization, but your message will be heard by the [X] number of employees.”
- In this video from TEDActive 2010, Christopher Poss, curator of TEDxPfizer, the first-ever Internal TEDx event, details his program and its origins.
- In this talk at the TEDx Workshop at TEDGlobal, Steve Garguilo, curator of TEDxJNJ explains how TEDx can change a workplace.
- In this Google+ hangout video, Internal TEDx event organizers share their experiences and insights from launching Internal TEDx programs of their own.